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Men’s Lacrosse: No. 8 Irish place their focus on Quinnipiac

Greg Arbogast | Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Fresh off a victory over Ohio State that clinched both the Greater Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) title and an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament, all the No. 8 Irish want to talk about is Quinnipiac.

“We need to win one more game,” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said after Saturday’s game against the Buckeyes. “I’m not going to talk about all those other things right now because [the Quinnipiac game] is what’s right in front of us, and that’s where our focus needs to be.”

It’s not as if Notre Dame has nothing to play for when it travels to Connecticut this weekend to close out the regular season Saturday at 1 p.m. On the line for the Irish will be a perfect conference record, an outright GWLL title, and finishing the regular season on an eight-game winning streak.

“I think all those things are important, but more than anything else, [we want] to continue to play well,” Corrigan said. “We’re at the time of the year where you don’t want to take any backward steps. It’s not just about getting wins. It’s about getting yourself to play the best that you can play.”

One could argue that the Irish could not play much better that they have over the past month-and-a-half. Since losing to Dartmouth on March 17, Notre Dame has rattled off seven consecutive victories – a streak that has helped the Irish jump 11 spots in the polls.

During their winning streak, the Irish have outscored their opponents by a combined score of 93-29. Notre Dame has been especially tough in the second half of games, allowing an average of 1.57 second-half goals.

On the offensive side of the field, Notre Dame has ridden a balanced attack to the tune of 11.56 goals per game, which is the fifth in the country. Four Irish players – attack Ryan Hoff, midfielder Michael Podgajny, midfielder Brian Hubschmann and attack Will Yeatman – have tallied 20 goals or more. Corrigan credited the unselfishness of his players in explaining the team’s offensive success.

“We’re willing to take what the defense gives us and have a lot of different people contribute,” Corrigan said. “Our most consistent players are unselfish, and that makes a huge difference. As long as we’re productive, they’re happy.”

It will be Quinnipiac’s turn this Saturday to deal with both the Irish offense and defense, and the Bobcats don’t appear to stand much of a chance on paper. Quinnipiac enters this weekend’s game with a record of 6-6 overall and 1-3 in conference play. The Bobcats’ three losses in GWLL play have come at the hands of Denver, Ohio State and Air Force – all teams that Notre Dame has defeated this season.

That said, Corrigan emphasized that he believes Quinnipiac will play with great intensity this weekend, and he has been working on his team to prevent a let-down.

“I expect [their intensity] to be good,” Corrigan said. “They have a chance to put a feather in the cap of their seniors which is to win a big league game and to knock off a top-ten team. That’s plenty to play for.

“We’ve been talking to our guys all week about the idea that we haven’t proven anything to this team until we get out on the field with them and take care of business.”